Pensioner wins cannabis appeal

By Alesha Capone

An elderly man who admitted to growing cannabis because he couldn’t live on the pension has successfully appealed a prison sentence.

The 71-year-old was in February sentenced to three years in prison with a non-parole period of 18 months.

However at the Court of Appeal earlier this month presiding judges David John Ashley and Mark Weinberg re-sentenced the man to 225 days jail, the number of days he had served to that point.

The man appealed his sentence on the grounds that there was a delay between his original arrest and sentencing; his “early plea of guilty and remorse”; his “prior good character and lack of any previous convictions”; and his “good prospects for rehabilitation”.

The court heard that in December 2015, the man leased a factory in Archer Road, Truganina.

In April 2017, while the man was “subsisting” on a fortnightly old-age pension of $400 per week, police attended the factory after a neighbor reported suspicious behavior.

Police discovered a hydroponic cannabis crop and a number of young cannabis plants. They seized 39 cannabis plants in total.

Shortly after police searched the factory, the man arrived at the site. He admitted to leasing the factory and told police there was cannabis inside.

The court heard the man “co-operated fully with the investigation” and gave police “a detailed account” of how he harvested the cannabis. “He said that he had grown it in order to make money, because he was unable to live on his pension,” Judge Weinberg said.

“He admitted to having harvested and sold the cannabis from one room in the factory, and said that the proceeds of the sale had amounted to $10,000.”

The court also heard the man had no criminal history of any kind and had been unable to continue working after having a stroke more than a decade ago.